by Juraj Streďanský
The annual IATEFL Hungary conference in Budapest, held 5-7 October 2018, was a weekend to remember. To see that bunch of motivated, enthusiastic, kind and helpful professionals at work was an experience in itself, let alone the content of the presentations.
It was a two-and-a-half-day ride where, once it got in motion, jumping off the roller-coaster was a challenge, despite the beautiful sunny weather behind the windows. With 8 sessions at a time, the event did’t leave much to wish for – it covered everything from presentations on results of scientific studies, given by the researchers themselves, to sessions on CLIL, from gaming as a learning tool to ESP, from communication and community-building in classroom to theory and practice of Gothicism.
Let me elaborate on my personal highlights.
Danny Singh – An achieved English teacher and team-building coach based in Rome – gave us an insight into his method combining laughter yoga, interpreting from gibberish, and a few other hard-to-briefly-describe kinesthetic activities. Certainly, a creative approach to the matter which reminded me of the importance of movement while experiencing a new language, making the learning process feel much closer to real life.
Andy Cowle – a Black Cat Publishing trainer – reintroduced reading as a learning tool for the young generation of the 21st century. Takeaways & surprising facts: youngsters still do read, maybe even more than they ever have; there has probably never been as much written (and therefore read) communication in the history of mankind as there is today. The only challenge poses our ability to show the kids and teens that book-reading is fun, exciting and certainly not a forgotten pass-time of their grandmas, and thus using their reading habits to our advantage.
Peter Sokolowski – a Merriam-Webster (the American Standard dictionary) representative – gave a talk on something about the importance of which we tend to forget – lexicography. With today´s use of online dictionaries of all sorts – and a great tool they are, indeed – the identity of the publisher and the labour hidden behind the lists of (hundreds and hundreds of) thousands of vocabulary items becomes close to invisible. We were reminded of the beauty and the smell of books, though not of fiction, which contain everything what our beloved English consists of. … And I had the chance to meet one of the authors of my favourite dictionary in person – simply exciting!
A weekend well spent, time greatly invested… Seeds of wisdom, new contacts, and motivating activities were planted, and I have been harvesting the fruits ever since.
I would not miss the next year’s event for the world!